Jaap, or Japa, is a core Shabad Guru practice and one of the three pillars of the Sikh way of life (often referred to as Naam Japo). It is part of the everyday life of a Sikh. Jaap can be defined as reciting and repeating the name of the Divine with great humility.
The practice of Japa, or repeating mantras and Shabads continuously, generates Tapa, which can be defined as inner heat that refines the psyche.
Generating Tapa through constant repetition of sacred Shabads and mantras has the power to forge a beautiful spiritual heat within us that can increase our health, radiance and connection to our Divine nature. This practice can be very purifying on the spiritual level and can aid in clearing out karma.
Guru Nanak makes reference to this concept in the 38th Pauree of Japji Sahib:
Let self-control be the furnace, and patience the goldsmith.
Let understanding be the anvil, and spiritual wisdom the tools.
With the fear of God as the bellows, fan the flames of tapa, the body’s inner heat.
In the crucible of love, melt the nectar of the Name, and mint the true coin of the Shabad, the Word of God.
Such is the karma of those upon whom He has cast His glance of Grace.
O Nanak, the Merciful Lord, by His Grace, uplifts and exalts them.
Gurutej Singh Khalsa provides further context below:
“Guru Nanak gives us wisdom in the 38th Pauree by using the metaphor of the goldsmith’s forge. The furnace of a goldsmith must have an even and controlled temperature and the goldsmith himself must have patience to work with the gold to form it into beautiful shapes. So should be the self-control and internal discipline of the seeker.
Guru Nanak says to make fear of God the bellows that stoke the inner fire . . . Fear of God means the awe and longing for God.
So with each breath, remember the One who gave the breath to you and apply that tapa, the heat, to the japa, the meditation, and fan the flame of the tap tao, the inner spiritual heat that builds with deep meditation. And there in your heart, in the crucible of love, let the nectar of Naam, the most precious gold, melt to its ultimate state of purity.”
– Excerpted from the book Guru Nanak’s Call of the Soul: Japji Sahib
Raj Yoga Meditation for Tapa
This beautiful meditation can help us to develop Tapa within ourselves:
Tapa Yog Karam Kriya
This beautiful meditation can help us channel the power of Tapa within us to bring increased focus to deliver our intentions in the world: